Down the Road a Piece

By MILT GROSS | Jan 12, 2014

May I not have this dance

A few nights ago Dolores and I were relaxing on the sofa, being thankful that we have had our electric power back on since Christmas, and were watching an original uncut DVD of The Sound of Music.

We were impressed with the uncut DVD, which we had found somewhere out there online and purchased.

At the scene of a ball in the large house, I asked Dolores, “Did you ever dance?”

“Yes,” she replied, “once.”

She went into no details, but she asked me the same question.

“Yes,” I answered, “once, in high school.”

Trying to remember high school and at the same time tell the tale of my single dance. It went something like this: In my senior??? -- might have been -- year, I arranged to take a cute little blond to a big dance at the school. She was the daughter of the president of the military academy in Wayne, which is on the main line of Amtrak Railroad.

It was the Valley Forge Military Academy, I just remembered after looking it up on Google and finding the name of before I could think of my own name.

I hadn’t bought my couple-of-years-old ’57 Chevy yet, so I must have been driving my brother’s seven year old ’53 Ford sedan or my old I can’t calculate with my fingers .....’36 Plymouth. The Plymouth had a canvas or some type of cloth for a roof, a stick shift on the floor, an electric heater on the passenger-side floor, and a windshield you could crank open for any reason -- I never thought of a reason.

But I went to the young lady’s door, picked her up in my whatevermobile, and drove her to the high school, which I believe was named Conestoga High School because of the road on which it was located. That road, the Old Conestoga Road, had been the route of the Conestoga wagons as they headed west.

No, I never drove a Conestoga wagon.

At the dance were lots of kids and music to which some were dancing. I had trouble dancing, because the music from some kind of horn was muted. The muted music from some kind of horn gave me a splitting headache.

After tolerating it as long as my young head could tolerate it, I apologized to the cute little blond, and told her that because of the awful music and my just-as-awful headache, I’d have to take her home.

I don’t recall her name. I don’t recall her calling me any names. But I did take her home from the first

dance I ever attended.

Thus my dance career nearly ended.

Until a number of years ago in Southwest Harbor

when I was a reporter, I was invited to a dance by the late Lester, who, I believe, had run a Ford dealership in the very building in which the dance took place.

I danced with two or three mature ladies, who were a bit too mature for me to spark any romantic interest on my reporter part. I stayed awhile, thanked the host, and fled the scene.

I believe they were my only two dances, except the time I had old Shep on a leash in the woods near my hometown of Paoli, PA and saw this furry critter coming at us. Thinking it was a bobcat, I braced myself for a thorough clawing. But it turned out to be a rabid fox, and it and I did a strange circular dance there in the deep woods with old Shep on his leash trying to nab Brer Fox. (Shep wasn’t a bad dancer.)

The fox bit a school chum, who was fishing farther down in those woods, and was found to have rabies after a farmer shot it.

The poor critter soaked my jeans and socks but didn’t nick the skin. I know because my mother checked carefully, and the next day in gym class while I was standing around in my little white gym shorts, wondering why I was standing around, my classmates also checked my leg carefully. They also watched my mouth to see if it would start foaming. It didn’t as far as I can recall.

Those were my only three dances, and I have to say I found the third one a lot more exciting than either of the first two.

Dolores was nodding by the time I finished the above tale of a non-dancer.

But I will say one more thing about dancing. If you are thinking of inviting me to one,

Please, may I not have this dance with you.

Even though I’m certain you can dance better than I can dance.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross copyright 2013

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